Their fans may think they’re very cool, but Michelle Obama says that her kids Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17, cringed at certain situations when Barack was POTUS.
Michelle Obama, 55, is proving that she and Barack, 57, are just like millions of other parents around the country – their kids sometimes think they’re “hugely embarrassing.” But, for Malia and Sasha (now 20 and 17 respectively), that was especially true when their dad was President, their mom was First Lady and they lived in the White House. Michelle makes this revelation during an interview with Conan O’Brien on the March 18 episode of his podcast.
“Imagine showing up to parent-teacher conference with a 20-car motorcade and police officers yelling at the teachers, ‘Move out of the way!’” the New York Times bestselling author says on Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend. “People on top of the rooves. We had to parent by creating this cocoon of normalcy in a pretty crazy abnormal world…”
The author of “Becoming” goes on to explain how she and the former POTUS tried to make life normal for their daughters who went from being average kids living and going to school in Chicago, to living in the White House in Washington D.C. Malia was 10 and Sasha was 7 when their dad started his two-term presidency. Striving to make their daughters’ lives normal while living in a fishbowl was key for Michelle and Barack. “We spent eight years just going, ‘It’s OK. You’ll be fine. This is normal. Just go to school. You have…men with guns. You’re safe. Don’t complain. You have food…’” the mom-of-two tells Conan. “It was very much keeping them in their reality. Making sure we went to the parent-teacher conferences and that we went to their games and that we were sitting on the sidelines with them and that they had sleepovers and we had kids sleeping over at our house. And that takes work…”
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) March 18, 2019
The former First Lady reveals that her kids seemed totally unfazed by their environment. “Our house being the White House, which by the way, my kids were like every other kid,” she says. “It’s like, ‘Why would people want to come here, Mom?’ ‘It’s the White House. I guarantee you they want to come here and watch a movie.’ ‘No one wants to come here.’ I was like, ‘You are wrong, my friend.’ But their view was I don’t want to be here. I’m here all the time. I want to go to X’s house, which I always found was a healthy sign that they weren’t obsessing about this, that they were curious about other.”
Michelle adds, “But I am in awe of my children for the way they have managed this whole thing with poise and grace. There’s a resilience that they’ve had to develop. We’ve given them so much more than any of us have ever had – they have met the Pope and the Queen and they’ve done things that just no kid would ever do – but they’ve also had to sacrifice a lot of their childhoods. Living in this glare and being the subject of some of this nastiness themselves and learning at a very young age how do you recover from that…”
Sasha is now a high school student and Malia, who is frequently snapped by paparazzi, is a Harvard undergrad. “Imagine trying to have your first kiss or sneak a cigarette and you’re on Page Six,” Michelle says, before noting that her daughters are not “resentful” or “cynical” despite living under a microscope. “My hat’s off to them,” she tells the late night talk show host. Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend is available on iTunes.